I had two big problems this time around that I didn’t have three years ago. First off, back then we weren’t doing Mixtapes yet and we only had to select one cut for the download. It didn’t make sense to put a bunch of different tracks in the jukebox and people couldn’t get to them. It would be very frustrating, especially if, as was more often than not, we were talking about music that was difficult to get through the usual commercial channels. Second, there was no big need to worry about sequencing, trying to order the music by some art, science, or in a few cases alchemy so that the whole listening experience felt organic, felt right in the listeners ear. But when you do a Mixtape, sequencing is almost as important as track selections.

The big problem is that to do a Mixtape well, you’ve got to listen to all the music a couple of times. Essentially you’re putting together a jigsaw puzzle with only a “feeling” about how the whole will sound when you finish the assembly. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have tons of free time. During my commutes to and from work and between the two high schools where our writing program is resident, the only other regular time I have is when I climb into bed and set my iphone to play music for 45-minutes (and I’m usually off to dreamland within 15 or 20 minutes).
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So, it’s Sunday morning and I’m still tinkering with the order, still dropping two and adding another, still debating how deep or how out to venture. I ended up being the most happy about the “Blue In Green” Mixtape because it has the widest range of stylistic approaches yet feels the most unified. Overall, I think we have a winner but if I’ve learned anything over the years doing BoL its that one can never accurately figure out what will most appeal to the general audience.

Our audience is international and in October, due mainly to that Charles Lloyd Live Mixtape, we climbed to an average of over 12,000 unique visitors per day. Right now we’re sitting on roughly 9,000 visitors a day. Plus, new people continually reference material we posted over the years. So, what I do is play to my strengths. I draw on the wide range of musics I like and/or appreciate and try my best to stay true to my ear.

I don’t mean to imply that I think everybody will like everything I like. That’s not possible. But I do think people appreciate finding out about quality music they’ve not heard before; people do like to find out details about music they dig; and, most of all, from a musical perspective, people like learning about the connections between historic and contemporary music.

That’s how we put this week together: some stuff you’ve probably never heard, some classic stuff, some live stuff that’s not easy to find, and a base of classic material. I wish I could make every week this strong but there are only so many recordings of the caliber and popularity of Kind of Blue. I mean not just popular in and of themselves but also popular with other artists who out of admiration cover the songs—in jazz, putting one’s individual spin on specific songs is what many artists used to do on the regular.

Here it is over fifty years later and young folk are still covering the songs from Kind of Blue—that’s major.

That’s it. If you dig it, enjoy and tell a friend, which can include leaving a comment online; and yes, we do read each comment. Peace.

—Kalamu ya Salaam

Kind of Blue – “Blue In Green” Mixtape Playlist

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01 Heaven and Earth - Al Jarreau

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02 Cuz I Feel - Alisa Ohri

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03 Namaskar - Sameer Gupta

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04 Mosaic - Soul Cycle

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05 Ethnomusicology, Vol. 4: Live in Atlanta - Russell Gunn

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06 Spirit Of The New Land - Doug Carn

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07 Immersion - Jacques Schwarz-Bart

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08 Plays Miles - Russell Gunn

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09 Traveling Miles - Cassandra Wilson

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10 The Blessing - Gonzalo Rubalcaba

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11 Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

This entry was posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010 at 4:49 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “VARIOUS ARTISTS / “Blue In Green””

tayari Says:
November 14th, 2010 at 7:55 am

So, its been a week. Listened on Monday. This is the one for me. Deeply sacred. Richly beautiful. Puttin’ us in touch with our true selves. Each cut is so, so . . . There are no words. Thanks ever, ever so much, Kalamu.

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